Punching above my weight

I’d like to think I’ve sidestepped this particular phenomenon, but I’m not so sure:

I know the desperate hunger that writing a book creates, the desire for SOMEONE to say SOMETHING about what you have done.

So I take a look. And it’s always, always, always the most whipped-together dog’s breakfast of jumbled nothing. Cliches like stones in your shoe. An amorphous bowl of gelid blah.

And I’ve wondered, How can an adult do this? How they can spend their lives at a certain career, being accountants or lawyers or whatever, understanding that those fields require practice and skill, talent and years of work, and then, upon retirement, think they can just lurch into an entirely new realm and expect not merely to do something competent, but to be outstanding? They seem suddenly children, proudly showing off their first scrawl.

The reason, I’ve decided, is what I call the Curse of the Amateur. A blend of ego and ignorance. A kind of blindness. You think so much of yourself to want to immortalize your doings, to prevent the obliterating hand of time from effacing Your Precious Self, and thus want to share your unique life and perspective with the mundane world. You know nothing about the craft of getting people interested in what you have on your mind, and since working on it, even in a slapdash fashion, is hard, it seems more satisfying to go showing it around. And so go blundering into the world, waving your masterpiece, excited to be finally doing it, mistaking politeness for interest. You just demand attention and respect, as if it were your birthright, and it’s not.

I think I’m maybe halfway down that particular road. On the one hoof, this is, after all, a Work-In-Progress site, and I’m not about to discourage anyone from taking a look before the stuff goes live over at Fimfic; on the other, at no time have I claimed to be anything much more than a guy with a couple of story ideas and an occasional, if unreliable, flair for dialogue.

Still, if you take “amateur” in its contemporary sense — the opposite of “professional” — well, yeah, that’s me.

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